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Oct 9, 2008 05:11 PM

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER DESSERT Cookbook of the Month Suggestion Thread

So my first question to those of you who are interested in the Dessert COTM is this: Should we continue? This month seems to have had the lowest response volume of any of the DCOTMs so far.

Is it over?

Maybe we should keep it going through the holiday season? Maybe things will pick up when November rolls around?

In any case, let's have your suggestions here (IN CAPS AS USUAL) and also comments on the life or death of this thread.

Best, Oakjoan

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  1. Why not just go for a holiday baking book for these two months - ltwo or three cookie books for example. Im not going to buy any more baking books at present and the only books I might suggest are those of my old fave MAIDA HEATTER.

    Maybe later we could swith the focus for a month to a Bread book from desserts. I would also be happy sometime cooking from Claudia Fleming's book for a month, but I recognize its not very available right now. Not trendy, but in this time of recession, why not choose to cook from books we already have on our shelves for a while, ex malgieri,carole walter,berenbaum, etc.

    6 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      If I understand your first paragraph correctly, are you thinking that we would just do the dessert COTM during November/ December of each year? If so, I think this would be a great idea! I know not everyone bakes all around the year as much as I do and Nov./ Dec. is when all the bakers seem to come out of the woodwork. That's also when I'm in the mood the most too. I guess that would be more of a dessert COTY, which I really don't have a problem with. Baking from My Home to Yours had a lot of participants. People still come back and post on that thread quite often.

      I still would like to do GREAT COFFEE CAKES, STICKY BUNS, MUFFINS AND MORE: 200 ANYTIME TREATS AND SPECIAL SWEETS FOR MORNING TO MIDNIGHT, by Carole Walter. I know we always have lots of brunchy Christmas get-togethers, so this would be a great one for me.

      1. re: Katie Nell

        Katie- I just got this book from the library! Have you found any great recipes in it yet? Everything looks so good..

        1. re: Erinmck

          Hi Erin! (Miss you! :-) I haven't tried too many recipes yet- I'll have to look when I get home to see which ones I've tried. I remember the Vanilla Muffins- they were just a good, simple muffin.

      2. re: jen kalb

        I'll second MAIDA HEATTER. Either The Best Dessert Book ever or New Book of Great Desserts.

        I love the idea of DCOTM, but am limited by what I can get in my library and online. I know for a fact i will be baking fanatically in December and hopefully whatever the DCOTM is will be in my library so I can bake from it.

        My Yummy Life

        1. re: jen kalb

          I'd love to do Maida. I was an awful baker until I bought her books. Her books don't have all the glossy pictures of today's new books, but they are true treasures. I live in Florida and really want to find her and get her autograph. I'm not easily starstruck, but with Maida, I'd be speechless.

          1. re: jindomommy

            Please note that this a thread from 2008 is NOT the 2010 November/December threads.

        2. I think it was just the summer months, and I hope Dessert/Baking COTM keeps going, I look forward to participating for the first time this holiday season!

          I like Jen's idea- holiday sweets for Nov/Dec and then Bread starting in 2009, when we all make resolutions to be frugal.

          I vote for HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS, BAKING AND THE ART OF COMFORT COOKING by Nigella Lawson (not sure if you've done this already).

          2 Replies
          1. re: yamalam

            To clarify my post, let me say again what I was trying to say my own "charmingly" muddled way.

            I am quite willing to continue the DCOTM because it's not that much work. I wanted to get an idea how others felt. I'm also willing to continue to post this thread every two months even it if there's not a large response.

            In any case, I DO think we should always do a DCOTMs for Nov/Dec.

            1. re: oakjoan

              I'm a lurker on DCOTM at the moment (and I'm going to use the Lebovitz threads forever, thx all) so I'm not so sure I should be suggesting...
              but I'm interested in IN THE SWEET KITCHEN by Reagen Daley for sometime in the future. The few things I'm made from it are great - an apple cake that uses both dried and fresh apples.

              and Breakfast Lunch Tea, of course
              ; )

          2. I would second Yamalam's suggestion of HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS, BAKING AND THE ART OF COMFORT COOKING, since I use it a lot and love it.

            1. Hard to say if it's just lack of interest or if we just picked a book that had recipes that didn't work well, as in unappealing or unsuccessful. It looked attractive at first blush.

              19 Replies
              1. re: yayadave

                yayadave, what book are you talking about?

                  1. re: yayadave

                    I still have The Sweet Spot checked out from the library. I generally like it and liked the almond tofu dessert I made; however, I guess I haven't been making many desserts lately. In fact, I don't make many sweets unless it's for a special occasion, potluck, etc. TSS has interesting recipes, but I guess they aren't as practical for everyday eating compared to other books that have things like muffins, quick breads, breakfast items, and such.

                    So, I say that we continue with the DCOTM and vote on a new dessert book for Nov & Dec but that we stick w/ books that are more accessible if increased participation is one goal. Then we can reevaluate at the end of the year and see if we'd like to continue into the new year.

                    That said, I'll second the suggestions for GREAT COFFEE CAKES...and ROSE BAKERY. Just putting this out there, but I'd also love to revisit a prior COTM, Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours. What a great book!

                    1. re: Carb Lover

                      I will still be doing a bit from The Sweet Spot. And I really appreciate having the Dessert Cookbook of the Month. Even though I may not make scads and scads from the book, I still make more than I would.

                      I like making desserts from books that have something different. A little different twist on the standard recipes that you can find anywhere.

                      If some like cooking from more mainstream books, then I say alternate them with the more unusual ones.

                      1. re: karykat

                        Me again.

                        Here are three that are high on my list to do sometime soon:

                        DESSERTS BY THE YARD by Sherry Yard. A great variety of different things, since these are recipes from her times at Spago, New York city, Vienna. Not overly esoteric but interesting. There's a great pumpkin pie recipe that might be good for Thanksgiving.

                        THE SWEET LIFE by Kate Zuckerman. Incredible pictures. Again, a mix of some standards and some a bit different but not overly so.

                        THE SECRETS OF BAKING by Sherry Yard. This one would be fantastic to do and might meet a variety of needs. This one won the James Beard award some time back. What is neat about it is that it has a basic master recipe and then a lot of variations on the theme. So for example, there is a chapter on pound cakd and genoise. And then a whole bunch of variations like lemon pound cake, marble cake, tuiles (which she relates to pound cakes), blondies, banana pound cake, etc. All the basic desserts are there along with all these variations. And by going over the basics, you really learn the underlying principles behind these desserts. And make fun things.

                        So those are my thoughts.

                        1. re: karykat

                          karykat, just curious... are there any savory baked goods in The Secrets of Baking?

                          1. re: Katie Nell

                            She does seem to have a few savory things, like southwestern cornsticks, some herb gougeres and some breads that don't look sweet. I would say most of it is sweet, though.

                            One thing that is kind of cool is that at the beginning of each section she has sort of a family tree for each kind of dough or base, showing how the master recipe is and how it relates to the variations. So, she has a page showing the family tree for brioche, showing how it is divided into "rich" brioche which includes Panettone, rich brioche and gingerbread brioche, and "lean" brioche which includes challah, pate savarin and a chocolate brioche, and also fried brioche which includes beignets.

                            Each major category is broken down this way so you see the interconnections. With recipes and tips for each.

                      2. re: Carb Lover

                        That's a good suggestion about Dorie Greenspan's book. As I remember it, that book as COTM got a lot of action on Chowhound. It probably could stand some more exposure. Another book that has been talked about as on a par with My Home to Yours and I think has not been highlighted on these boards is MARTHA STEWART'S BAKING HANDBOOK. So I just wanted to offer that for consideration and comment by those who know it.

                        1. re: yayadave

                          We've actually done Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, in conjunction with the Hors d'ouevres Handbook. I think that month went over fairly well too.

                          1. re: Katie Nell

                            Ooops. I missed it. I must have been trying to hibernate my way through the holiday season.

                        2. re: Carb Lover

                          Nothing wrong w/ posting under the old thread for Dorie Greenspan, who I agree wrote a great book!

                          I'm trying to eat and cook healthier and have *thought* about doing the same w/ baking, so I bought BOB'S RED MILL BAKING BOOK featuring whole grains. Might be a better choice for January post-holiday season.

                          I also want to put out for consideration Flo Braker, a reputed excellent baker. I believe she writes/wrote for SF Chronicle: THE SIMPLE ART OF PERFECT BAKING. She was also one of the several contributors to THE BAKER'S DOZEN COOKBOOK, which includes recipes by David Lebovitz, Alice Medrich & Marion Cunningham.

                          I second GREAT COFFEE CAKES
                          also want to put in a pitch for Rose Levy Beranbaum's CAKE BIBLE and PIE & PASTRY BIBLE.

                          Maita Heatter was the gold standard, but unfortunately, almost all of her books seem to be out of print (for those of us who can't make do w/ library borrowing and need to purchase!)

                          So in my ideal world we would do:
                          GREAT COFFEE CAKES Nov-Dec
                          BOB'S RED MILL Jan-Feb
                          Flo Braker March-April
                          and then Rose Levy Barenbaum PIES for May-June when berries will be around again. yea!

                          1. re: NYchowcook

                            An approach like the above would be smart

                            I beg to differ about Maida Heatter - there are several books in print still including COOKIES (Maida Heatter Classic Libraries edition) check Amazon. even the out of print books, show many copies available..

                            1. re: NYchowcook

                              I would def. be in to doing Flo Braker's book at some point. I have owned it for a while and haven't made much of a dent in it. IIRC, it does focus more on cakes than anything else so may be a little limiting...

                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                This list is so nicely thought out, I hate to dispute. However, how about ROSE'S CHRISTMAS COOKIES by RLB for Nov - Dec? That's what a lot of people will be doing, anyway.

                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                    Good point. Two good cookie books has to be better than one. How about a fancy, detailed one like ROSE'S CHRISTMAS COOKIES and a definitely un-fancy golden oldie like this BETTY CROCKER COOKY BOOK. It still has the same cover as my hand-me-down 1962 copy.

                                    Looking at Rose's Christmas Cookies reminds me that now would be a good time for me to order a springerle mold.

                                    1. re: yayadave

                                      Well, if we're going to go the cookie route, what about THE GOOD COOKIE? I've made probably 10- 15 recipes out of it, and they always are at the top of everyone's favorites list. I actually consider Rose's Christmas Cookies to be more un-fancy than fancy. It just seemed really old-fashioned to me.

                                      1. re: yayadave

                                        Ooh, if anyone else votes for the BETTY CROCKER COOKY BOOK I'll be thrilled. I still have my battered 1960s copy. And I love it.

                                1. re: Carb Lover

                                  Ah, The Rose Bakery, Breakfast, Lunch, of my top 5 faves of all time.

                                  Dorie Greenspan is another interesting idea, CL, I only made a couple of things from it last time around.

                                  I also love the few recipes I've tried from Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma (from Babbo).

                                  If this is out of line (me being the runner of this thread), I take it all back! ;+)


                            Saturday, I'll cull the suggestions and put up the VOTING thread.